Can Women Have It All?

Can Women Have It All?

Before I had Rian, I was convinced that women/parents could have it all – a career, a family, a healthy social life, and time for themselves. It’s been nine-and-a-half months since Rian arrived and I can tell you that I have some, but I surely do not have it all.

Balancing work and home is a constant struggle. One of my goals for the new year is to get to work on the earlier side, in an effort to have uninterrupted time to get things crossed of my do-to list before everyone gets in the office; my hope is to be able to leave by 5:15pm,at the latest. This gets me home by 6:20pm should the stars align and there be no train delays.

Our weekends are often packed with family commitments, house cleaning, laundry, and grocery shopping. Maithil and I have been making a conscious effort to complete some chores during the course of week. For example, I’ll put a load of laundry in before dinner and by the time we are done with dinner/dishes, the laundry is ready for folding. But, after a long day at work, it is sometimes tough to motivate myself to do anything that requires much physical activity.

Scheduling time with friends is no longer easy. Seeing friends on weeknights and not getting home before 8:30pm equates to no time with Rian that day. Weekend plans have to be made in advance so that we can plan the day around Rian’s schedule. Friends with kids (we do not have many of those) are a lot easier to make plans with because they are in the same predicament as us. I imagine that our social lives will improve once Rian is a little older.

Time for myself – what does that mean? I would love to start making the gym a regular part of my daily routine again but currently, there is just no time or energy for this. I can talk about this for pages but I think you get the point. Plus, pumping burns enough calories for now!

Overall, at this point in my life, I have to agree with Pepsi CEO, Indra Nooyi and say that perhaps women can’t have it all. But, I am not willing to settle on the fact that this will always be the case. Each day, my juggling act improves just a tiny bit. That progress is enough to keep me striving for a better balance.

Fellow parents, how is your juggling act? How do you manage your day-to-day?

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73 Questions

Interviews fascinate me. They provide insights into people’s lives, companies, and processes through a uniquely candid lens. 73 Questions, a series by Vogue, has added a layer of unpredictability, intrigue, and pure fun to celebrity interviews. The interviewer rapidly fires 73 questions while the celebrity continues to go about their business in their day-to-day environment. While it’s almost impossible to pick my favorite between Sarah Jessica Parker, Victoria Beckham, Reese Witherspoon, and Blake Lively, there is an edge to Anna Wintour’s interview that is both intimidating and fascinating. Plus, I bet you’ve never seen Anna this up close and personal. Watch. Listen. Enjoy!

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A Baby Library

A Baby Library

Rian has followed a consistent bedtime routine ever since he was about 2 months old. He takes a shower with Maithil (yes, an actual shower and not a bath in a baby tub. Our old neighbor, Maria, suggested the sweet idea and Rian loves every minute of it! Plus, it makes for some wonderful father-son bonding time.), we massage him with lotion or oil, slip him into his pajamas, and get him ready for feeding and reading time. We will read at least one or two books to him while he drinks his final bottle for the day. Recently, when he takes a break to burp, he will grab the book, flip the pages (board books are easier than paperbacks or hardcover), and babbles along. It’s as if he is reading to us (I knew he was a genius!). We now have a little library going, filled with personal picks as well as a bunch of great reads from friends and family. Below are my 10 favorite books from our current collection.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Goodnight Moon

Goodnight Moon

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Corduroy

Corduroy

The Story of Ferdinand

The_Story_of_Ferdinand

Guess How Much I Love You

GHMILY_PC_UK_0040-6

The Runaway Bunny

The Runaway Bunny

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel

Mike-Mulligan-and-his-Steam-Shovel

Little Blue Truck

Little Blue Truck

A Birthday For Cow

A Birthday For Cow

 

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A New Year

A New Year

Happy 2015!

At the end of each year, resolutions seem to be the topic of choice of everyone’s minds. Losing weight, learning a new skill, and saving money are some resolutions I hear most often. For me, resolutions are a bit too, well, resolute. Rather, I like to set goals, both short and long-term. The short-term ones are usually action oriented with an optimal result in mind. Long-term goals are on-going, much harder to fully achieve and more life oriented.

Some of my short-term goals include:

- Becoming more efficient at Photoshop

- Waking up when my alarm goes off (I’ve realized that once I make it out of bed, I am actually a morning person)

- Practicing yoga (I was an avid yogi during my pregnancy and it helped a lot with the aches and pains)

- Leaving work on time so I can make all of my trains (so I can come home to be with Rian!)

Some of my long-term goals include:

- Being more patient and rational in stressful situations

- Finding happiness and seeing the beauty in the details

- Not being too hard on myself

- Being more at peace with myself and those around me

What are some of your goals in 2015?

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A Belated Merry Christmas

A Belated Merry Christmas

A very belated merry Christmas to you! This time of year is always a joyous whirlwind but this year, it was busier than ever. I am not usually a last minute shopper. I am actually a pretty great gift giver and my Christmas buying often starts as early as Labor Day. But this season, I didn’t have a chance to start until early December. With four sister-in-law, seven nephews, one niece and her husband, and in-laws on Maithil’s side, and a handful of family on my side, shop ’till you drop takes on a whole new meaning. Thankfully, I love shopping for others even more so than shopping for myself. I thoroughly enjoy crossing off everyone om my list and seeing looks of delight when they unwrap their presents.

This Christmas was also different because it was Rian’s very first Christmas! Each year, the festivities take place at my sister-in-law’s and the opening of presents commences with the youngest family member. This year, that lucky fella was Rian. Although it took him a while to get acclimated to having the attention of the whole family, he soon grew to love the attention and affections. His favorite present was a green and white light-up, musical robot from his aunt. But mostly, he loved playing with all of the boxes and the wrapping paper. He is so easy to please at this age!

Rian Christmas Tree

As for me, my favorite present is having time off from work between Christmas and New Year’s. I get to spend uninterrupted time with Rian and watching the world through his eyes is simply priceless. As he gets older, I want to create some traditions with him such as baking cookies for Santa and opening just one present on Christmas Eve. One of our current family traditions, as set forth by my eldest sister-in-law’s, is donating at least $10 per person towards a chosen charity or cause. Some of my friends’ traditions include going out to brunch after opening presents, singing carols after dinner on Christmas Eve, watching Love Actually with the family (that movie never gets old), and volunteering at a food shelter on Christmas Eve.

How was your Christmas? What are some of your traditions over the holiday season? I’d love to know.

 

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A Shout Out

A Shout Out

During my writing hiatus, especially when I felt the least inspired, I had a list of blogs that I could count on to provide some creative spark. Here’s a big shout out to you lovely writers!

Joy The Baker – Joy, thank you for your wit, tips, and recipes. Your “Let It Be Sunday” posts are one of my favorite versions of a weekly round-up. Congrats on your move to New Orleans!

Mrs. Lilien – Kelley, our rhymes always put a smile on my face and often make me crave a drink. P.S.- Baby Truman is adorable!

Smitten Kitchen – Deb, our recipes are spot on and your love for chocolate make me feel like we’d be fast friends.

A Cup Of Jo – Your easy and candid writing style makes me feel like I am a part of the greater conversation. Joanna, our post about postpartum depression provided some much needed solace during April-June.

The Sartorialist – Street style at its very best; the captured moments explore and interesting balance of perception and perspective. Scott, your India series makes me nostalgic for my roots and childhood.

The Glamourai – Fashion, styling, travel, my daily dose of cool as curated by Kelly. So envious of your passport!

From Me To You/Ann Street Studio –  Jamie, you truly inspire me to take more and better pictures. You provide so much beauty and joy through your cinemagraphs.

Love Taza – Naomi, I hope to someday be able to follow your working model so I can spend more time with my son. Thanks for always adding a sprinkle of fun to everything. Congrats on the soon-to-arrive baby!

The Sophisticated Gourmet – A man who can cook. Need I say more? Kamran, I am looking forward to reading your book.

Other great reads: The ShutterbeanThe Pioneer Woman101 Cookbooks, The Daily Muse, Atlantic Pacific

Photo: The holy city of Varanasi, India by The Sartorialist on Instagram

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Back On The Radar

Back On The Radar

I’m back. I know I left without any notice. I’m extremely sorry for just falling off the radar. Thank you to all those who reached out and checked-in. People are not kidding when they say that having a child is life-changing. I continued to write a bit during my maternity leave, but upon returning to work after 12 weeks post-delivery, time was no longer my friend. In the beginning, consumed with a continuous state of exhaustion, I was lucky if I had the opportunity to eat dinner before 10pm. Any and everything that did not require my immediate attention quickly fell by the wayside, including 17 Parkside, the gym, and seeing friends, to name a few. For a couple of months, I had forgotten who I was and what I really wanted since all of my energy was focused on Rian. I was, and still am to some degree, battling that constant sense of guilt about leaving Rian at home for a ten hour span. Yes, he is in the best of hands with my mother-in-law caring for him, but I always feel like I’ve left a part of my heart at home. I’ve heard numerous times that it is only natural to feel this way, but nonetheless, it simply stinks.

Right around the time that Rian celebrated five months, I began feeling like myself again. I started striving for ways to establish a new balance between work and life at home. I realized that it was normal to doubt my skills as a mother, miss the one-on-one time with my husband, and feel like I was being judged by loved ones. And then, something clicked. At the end of the day, the only person who could change the way I felt, was me. Slowly but surely, I made actual plans to see friends, I started reading my old favorite publications and blogs, and I learned to better manage my time. I was getting excited about writing again and connecting with a larger community.

Rian is now eight months old. Although my emotions (aka hormones), on occasion, still get the best of me, I finally feel creative again. My energy level is back. My sense of humor is back. My self-confidence is back. Most of all, there have been a lot of learnings in my first few months of motherhood (more to come on this). Having a baby is certainly life-changing. With each passing day, I become more certain that my life has only changed for the better.

Photo: Rian at 14 days by Amanda Manthey

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A View From Above

A View From Above

One of the things that immediately connected Maithil and I when we first met was our love for travelling and exploring new places. If our jobs/lives allowed for it, we would ideally take a one to two week vacation at least once every season. In the meantime, we keep a running list of places we’d love to visit. Daydreaming is the first step to making your desires a reality, right? These breathtaking images help me see some of my favorite cities in a whole new light, especially #3, #14, #21, and #27.They make me want to pack my bags and jump on a plane. But, I guess I’ll have to wait until Rian is a bit older! (Also, how amazing are these airport aerial views.)

Image from The San Francisco Globe

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Vegetarians in NYC

Vegetarians in NYC

The great city of New York has no shortage of restaurants. You can find every kind of cuisine to satisfy your heart’s desire, with the taste level ranging from scrumptious to how are they still in business? But not all of the good ones are vegetarian friendly. And no, having a wonderful salad as the only vegetarian entree option does not count. In this list of NYC’s best vegetarian friendly restaurants by Serious Eats, it is clear that a non-carnivore will have plenty to choose from, be it Indian, Japanese, Italian, Middle Eastern, or any other culture (almost). Some of my favorites from this list include: L’Artusi (this comes as no surprise to anyone who knows us – the spaghetti and the hazelnut torta are out of this world), Taim (the best falafel in town), Saravana Bhavan (haven’t been to the one in Flushing but the Edison, NJ location hits the spot when I am craving authentic South Indian fare, which was a frequent occurrence when I was pregnant), and ABC Kitchen (farm-to-table done right, with a lot of roasting in-between and a side of a celeb sighting if you’re lucky).

The Roasted Carrot Avocado Salad from ABC Kitchen

The Roasted Carrot Avocado Salad from ABC Kitchen

A few that did not make their list but surely make mine:

Co.: I might even go as far as to say that this is my favorite pizza place. The stracciatella is my current favorite.

Cafe Gitane: Go there for brunch and get these three: the avocado toast, the couscous (add their house made harissa for an extra punch), and the orange blossom waffle. And of course, whatever else piques your fancy.

Caracas Arepa Bar: A Venezuelan staple at its best. Almost all of the warm, sweet and savory arepas can be made vegetarian. The most important topping to any of the arepas? Their “crack” sauce (pictured below). Just try it, you will thank me later.

caracas

Do you have a go-to or a favorite restaurant in NYC? Do share.

Top Image: courtesy of L’Artusi

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Email Addiction

Email Addiction

Being home for maternity leave, at times I feel a bit disconnected from the outside world. Rian is too young to take out everyday and as a result, there are days when I do not have the opportunity to leave the apartment at all. My main form of communication with others is now email or social media and the phone if the time allows for it. Every time I find myself on my phone or computer, I cannot help but check my email (even if I’ve just checked it less than an hour ago). Most of the time, I just have unimportant emails that do not require a response and simply end up in my trash. But still, I cannot shake the compulsion to check, it’s clearly a type of addiction. But come on, you can totally relate as well. You’d be lying if you said no! The flowchart above, by Wendy McNaughton, made me chuckle because it’s spot on. How often do you check your email/facebook/twitter/instagram?

Also, this chart makes me want to get The Best American Infographics 2013.

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